Panaji, Aug 5 (IANS) Goa will form special squads to stop Plaster of Paris Ganesh idols from coming in from Maharashtra, cabinet minister Rajendra Arlekar said on Friday.

Arlekar also told the assembly that special inter-department squads will also be formed to raid those manufacturing PoP idols, which he said harmed the environment, in Goa.

"It is detrimental to environment. The government will be alert. We have banned all PoP Ganesh idols. We will be posting personnel on checkpoints along the Goa-Maharashtra border to stop these idols from coming in," Environment and Forest Minister Arlekar said.

"A flying squad comprising of excise department, police and forest department officials will also be conducting checks to ensure that these idols are not manufactured (in Goa)," Arlekar said.

The cost effectiveness of PoP idols and better finishing over traditional clay idols ensure that they continue to have a market in Goa and other places which celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi.

But its hazardous gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium content as well as lead paints disintegrates slowly and poison the lakes, ponds, rivers besides choking beds of water bodies where the idols are immersed.

Ganesh Chaturthi is considered the most important Hindu religious festival in Goa and will be held on September 5.